Endeavour returned to Earth safely Wednesday, successfully completing a complicated 10-day scientific mission that released an inflated giant antenna and grew pure crystals in space.
The space shuttle and its six astronauts glided through wispy clouds to an on-time landing at Kennedy Space Center at 7:09 a.m. EDT.Patchy ground fog and low-level clouds had threatened to delay the touchdown, but these dissipated and Commander John Casper got the go-ahead to de-orbit on schedule. A bright-orange sun hovered over the seaside launch pad Endeavour had left May 19.
"Welcome back, Endeavour, from a most successful flight," Mission Control in Houston radioed shortly after touchdown.
The landing on the Space Center's 15,000-foot concrete runway appeared to be without incident.
A cooling system in one of the three auxiliary power units that failed during launch worked fine during the descent, ground controllers said.